Samsung’s Bad Online Reputation Cased it to Drop its Flagship Phone

brand reputation

Samsung has had a difficult autumn this year amid a scandal surrounding its latest flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Following reports of phones overheating, igniting or exploding, Samsung issued a recall—but unfortunately, replacement devices began experiencing the same issues, including one ignited phone that caused the evacuation of a Southwest Airline flight. Following the news, Samsung recently announced that it has permanently ceased production of the Galaxy Note 7.

The ongoing bad press has taken a serious hit on Samsung’s brand reputation since the phone battery explosions first began August: YouGov identified a more than 30-point drop in its BrandIndex, bottoming out at -7 upon the company’s announcement to end production. To put a value on the loss, Engadget reported a $17 billion loss for the company as stocks plummeted.

While the damage has largely been done, the decision to cease production of the phone and move on was a good pivot for the company: rather than continue the story’s momentum, Samsung was able to focus instead on its commitment to consumer safety over its own profits. It also presented a new, lighter focus on the story: media would no longer scrutinize Samsung’s handling of the case, but would instead shift its attention towards how the company might recover in the future.

But until Samsung gets to the root of the problem—identifying the exact reason why the Galaxy Note 7 batteries are prone to igniting—it may anticipate future headaches, like consumers imagining their phones overheating prompted by the media frenzy, or unscrupulous consumers hoping to take advantage of the company by faking incidents.

The situation surrounding the Galaxy 7 is an important lesson to social media marketers and those in charge of brand reputation management. Consider the possibility of your company experiencing a similar online reputation disaster—what would you do? And, as with Samsung, what if your efforts to solve the problem only backfired and exacerbated it?

Bad press killed Samsung’s flagship product, but your company doesn’t have to fall to the same fate. Anticipating disaster scenarios and remaining vigilant to resolve issues ASAP are important, as well as remaining transparent throughout that process. Samsung is likely kicking itself now for going against industry protocol to test its batteries at third-party labs, having opted to test them in-house instead—but the company is now promising “significant changes” in quality assurance, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Monitoring buzz surrounding your brand and responding when necessary is a critical practice of reputation management. Smart Moderation is one online reputation management tool that allows you to anticipate issues and automatically remove problematic or abusive comments from your social media content. More powerful than a keyword-based tool, Smart Moderation uses machine learning and natural language processing to moderate your profiles 24/7 and scrub them from undesirable content. This makes it easier to deal with fallout and damage control, allowing you to put your best efforts towards consumer messaging in order to protect your brand reputation.

Out advice to you is to plan a scenario similar to the one that’s plagued Samsung for the past couple months—what response from consumers can you imagine and expect? Try out Smart Moderation for free and see how easy it is to purge your profiles from these comments so you can move forward and communicate freely to your customers.


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